Greenclaims hero
26 February 2015

Unhelpful green claims

Cleaning product company has already been warned.

Earthwise continues to make unhelpful and potentially misleading “green” claims for its dishwashing liquid.

In December 2012 the Commerce Commission warned Earthwise about front-of-pack claims its household cleaning products contained no phosphates, ammonia, chlorine or nitrates. The commission considered the claims may have been misleading as most comparable products didn’t contain these ingredients.

Earthwise claims its products are “phosphate free, nitrate free, chlorine free [and] ammonia free”. We think the claim is unhelpful at best. Phosphates, for example, aren’t generally found in dishwashing liquid.

Earthwise’s Rory Garvey described the phosphate-free tagline as an important part of the company’s “values and brand”. He said Earthwise altered its packaging after the commission’s investigation. The changes included adding a disclaimer on the back of the pack stating “Earthwise makes no representations about the ingredients used by other manufacturers”.

The commission has previously cautioned companies against claiming environmental benefits that aren’t relevant to a product range. Its 2008 Guidelines for Green Marketing state claims for the absence of a harmful chemical or a damaging effect are unacceptable if other products don’t contain that chemical or have that effect.

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